Holiday Survival Guide {Surviving the Week Before Winter Break}

The week before winter break can be rough.  It's rough because the students are amped up at the sheer thought of all things holiday related, family vacations, and two weeks of no school. I mean, a part of me can't blame them, I get pretty amped up over the same things. Buuuuuut, there is still a week of school left.  And during this particular week, I go into survival mode.

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Survival mode, for me, simply means do whatever it takes to make it to Friday.  More specifically, do whatever it takes to keep the kids happy, focused, and engaged.  What follows are a few ideas to help you survive the week leading up to winter break.

Set up a Gift Table
My first step to surviving the week before winter break is staying on top of behavior.  One fun way to do that is by setting up a gift table.

My gift table is just an extra desk in my classroom that I basically use to hold random things throughout the week. The week before break, I place a bunch of wrapped gifts at this table. I promise you, what's wrapped inside didn't cost me much (and in some cases, cost me nothing).

Oh how the students wonder what's inside each package. I can usually hear them guessing and predicting what's inside each wrapped package. Like, every day.  As if this task never gets old.  I can also hear them declaring which package they hope to get.  But the thing of it is, you don't just "get" a gift from the gift table.  You earn it!

In order to earn a gift, the students need to fill these behavior punch cards.  When the students are working quietly, or get to right to work, or exhibit some other kind of desired behavior, they earn a punch (or sticker, if you prefer). Fill the card, pick a gift!

You can grab a set of these punch cards for FREE by clicking {here}.

What kinds of gifts am I offering?  Easy, cheap stuff like markers, crayons, books purchased with bonus points from Scholastic, etc.  Raid your supply closet at school, or find extra supplies you have on hand and wrap them up.

Make Something Beautiful
Another way to survive the week before break is to break out the art supplies and make something special like this adorable directed drawing from ARTventurous.  There are lot of directed drawings out there, but this is my go to each year.  It is always a hit with the kids, and their parents.

Directed drawings are a student favorite in my classroom. They love them. Let's not forget that directed drawings require students to focus, pay attention, apply spatial reasoning skills, and so much more!

I like to use watercolors and pastels to complete this project (the Sharpies are for tracing their drawings).

Art projects are magical. The students quiet down and get lost in their creations.  I love that!

Don't have time to do a drawing and get it colored in in one sitting? No worries! I have been there.  You could have your students draw their reindeer, and then, throughout the rest of the week make some time to color and/or paint them.

Some years, you might find that one drawing is enough to get you through the week.  Other years, you may need to do two or three.  Remember, it's all about surviving the week. ;)

Silent Reading
Are you laughing at the idea of silent reading the week before break?  It's possible, I promise.  Just bring out some flashlights!

During the week before break, I give each student a finger flashlight and we have some daily (silent) flashlight reading.

I have  a set of finger flashlights that I purchased on Amazon, but you can also find these at Target (check the Dollar Spot and the party favor sections).

The flashlights are amazing, and tons of fun!  The kids love using them.  Best of all, it makes for a quiet time and the kids are reading.

Surviving the week before break is crucial to your sanity, and it can be fun for everyone.  I hope you can take a few ideas away from this post! :)


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  1. I LOVE the idea of having them earn a present! Great idea!

    1. Thanks, Megan! They are pretty excited about the possibility of unwrapping one of those gifts, and they keep trying to guess what's inside the packages. Have a good one!


  2. Looks like you're going to survive the week for sure with all of these great activities! The reindeer is precious and I'm definitely going to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    Kindergarten Teacher at the Wheel

    1. I hope so, Amanda! The reindeer drawing is so cute, and easy too! I showed my five year old how to draw it this weekend and she did an amazing job! Have fun!


  3. I really like how they earn a present. :) Good luck making it until Friday. I'm out Wednesday at noon and it's getting hard to control my excitement!

    1. You are so lucky, Jayme! I would be pretty excited to, and hey, if that gets you through to Wednesday, roll with it! Happy holidays!!


  4. We drew the same reindeers today. They came out so cute!

    1. That's awesome! It is such a cute drawing. I bet your kiddos had a blast! Have a great rest of the week!



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